Quantum Leap

Season 4 Episode 20

The Curse of Ptah-Hotep

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Apr 22, 1992 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Again, Al establishes the "present" to be 1999.

    • When Sam and Ginny are trying to to pry apart the golden "arms" that hold the Heart of Ptah-hotep, the "arms" clearly bend and move under the actors' grasp, revealing them to not be made of metal.

    • In the Tomb of Ptah-Hotep, Sam says the writing suggest he is of the 18th Dynasty. This is must likely a referance to King Tut, who was of the 18th, due to the episode seem to mimic the real curse of King Tut.

    • There was actually no Egyptian ruler named Ptah-hotep. But in the 5th Dynasty there was a well known vizier named Ptah-hotep. A vizier is the adviser for the king.

  • Quotes

    • Sam: None of us can blame ourselves. It was an accident.
      Al: (mocking Ginny) Oh yeah, oh yeah...Oops! It was an accident. I accidentally killed everybody. Ha ha!

    • Al: Did I ever tell you about the time I dated a girl who was Egyptian? She thought she was the reincarnation of Cleopatra. She had a great ... asp.

    • Sam: Al, if you can't be helpful, why don't you leave, ok?
      Al: Helpful?
      Sam: Yeah.
      Al: I'm being helpful. I'm keeping you company down here in the tomb of King Heebie Jeebie.

  • Notes

    • Al's constant fluxuation of who he "knows" is the killer is reminsicent of Season Three's "Glitter Rock", when he was "certain" of the killer's identity every time a person acted suspiciously.

    • This is one of the several episodes from the series that proves, to the characters, the factuality of urban legends and supernatural phenomena. Other episodes include:
      "A Portrait for Troian" (ghosts) from Season Two, as well as
      "Temptation Eyes" (psychics),
      "Ghost Ship" (The Bermuda Triangle) and
      "It's a Wonderful Leap" (angels) from Season Four, and
      "Star Light, Star Bright" (UFO's),
      "Blood Moon" (vampires) and
      "The Beast Within" ("Bigfoot") from Season Five.

    • This episode is regarded by many fans as being a cursed episode. According to fan lore, VCRs timed to record this particular episode have been known to malfunction, and those who speak the name of the episode have been known to suffer misfortune.

  • Allusions

    • When Al is mocking Ginny, he says to Sam "Give her an Oscar and let's get the hell out of here!"

      The Oscar is the nickname of the award given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for outstanding acting or technical performances in film.

      Al, of course, is implying Ginny is lying, but that she's a good enough "actress" to convince someone otherwise.

    • In this episode, Al refers to Ginny as "Lucretia Borgia".

      Historically, Lucrezia (or Lucretia) Borgia was the alleged daughter of Pope Alexander VI.

      In many artworks, novels and films, she is portrayed as a devilish femme fatale, known to ruthlessly murder those who threatened her in subtle and treacherous ways.

    • When Sam tells Al that he remembers that workers who built tombs would sometimes put in secret doorways, he then surmises that they could just as easily put a door "hidden in plain view." Al compares this to "The Purloined Letter."

      The Purloined Letter is a famous short story by Edgar Allan Poe about a man who, after stealing a valuable letter in which he uses to blackmail the Queen of England, disguises it as a "normal letter" and places it on his fireplace mantle, making it hidden to those "looking for it."

      Like in The Purloined Letter, Sam reveals the disguise for what it really is and then uses the discovery to further the plot.